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2017 World Series Futures Betting Odds, Analysis and Picks

National League(0-0-0) @ American League(0-0-0)

  • Where: TBD. United States
  • When: April 2, 2017 1:10 pm EST
  • Moneyline: Cubs +400, Red Sox +500, Nationals +850 & Astros +1,400

It seems like only yesterday that the Chicago Cubs finally ended the 108-year curse of the Billy Goat and lifted the World Series trophy at Progressive Field after an epic seven-game battle against the Cleveland Indians, who inherited the mantle of the longest current drought in Major League Baseball dating back to their last title in 1948.

But more than two months have passed, and the talk has gone from reliving the glory throughout Chicago to the Cubs being the first team to repeat as World Series champs since the New York Yankees reeled off three straight from 1998-2000. And from top to bottom, there’s every reason that a title drought in the Windy City won’t last 1.08 years this time as opposed to 108.

The Cubs don’t have a glaring weakness

Cubs World Series ChampsThe Cubs are listed as the favorites to win the 2007 World Series with a money line of +400 at the Bovada Sportsbook, and quite frankly, those odds may go closer to even money by the time spring training rolls around. Almost every key player, save center fielder Dexter Fowler, returns from a team that won 103 games in 2016 and waltzed to the NL Central title by 17 1/2 games over St. Louis.

While Fowler provided speed at the top of the lineup and a strong defensive presence in the outfield, the Cubs quickly made a move to replace him by signing John Jay, who will serve as an insurance policy for the heir apparent to Fowler — 22-year-old Albert Almora Jr. He batted .277 in limited action as a rookie last year, but there will be little pressure to produce in a lineup powered by 2016 MVP Kris Bryant (39 HRs, 102 RBIs), Anthony Rizzo (32 HRs, 109 RBIs), Addison Russell (21 HRs and 95 RBIs) and Ben Zobrist (18 HRs, 76 RBIs).

Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer also shrewdly went about replacing departed closer Aroldis Chapman in the offseason, sending Jorge Soler to the Kansas City Royals for closer Wade Davis — a World Series winner himself who had 47 saves and a 1.18 ERA in his last three seasons as part of a dominant bullpen. Davis came with a cheaper price tag, in part because he had two stints on the disabled list last year, but also minus the off-the-field headaches Chapman brought with his domestic violence incident. If he stays healthy, Davis strengths an already-formidable bullpen that features Travis Wood and Pedro Strop.

The five-man rotation of Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jason Hammel and John Lackey combined for 79 wins — more than 13 teams for the entire season — and more impressively, started all but 11 games. Hammel has since moved into free agency, leaving Mike Montgomery as his likely replacement, but if they stay healthy, there’s no reason to believe they won’t produce numbers similar to 2016.

Lastly, there is the triumvirate of Epstein, Hoyer and Maddon, who adroitly dealt with this team as it became a burgeoning powerhouse and the crippling pressure to deliver a World Series title to a fan base starved for a title over many generations. There is no complacency among them, and Maddon knows every button to push to deflect the glare that will come with the already-soaring expectations for this team.

Simply put, the World Series is theirs to lose.

Bet on the Chicago Cubs to repeat as World Series champs (+400) at Bovada (Get $250 Bonus).

The best of the rest – AL edition

The Boston Red Sox, the AL favorites and second choice overall at +500 at the Bovada Sportsbook, are all in after their stunning trade to acquire Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox while mortgaging most of their farm system. But Sale, who has finished in the top six in AL Cy Young Award voting the last five years, is worth that hefty price tag. The left-hander joins a rotation that features a pair of Cy Young winners in Rick Porcello (2016) and David Price (2012) and up-and-coming youngster Steven Wright (13-6, 3.33 ERA in 2016) that can be put against any team’s best four starters in the majors.

Offensively, the Red Sox must replace the 38 homers and 127 RBIs created by David Ortiz’s retirement, and it will be done by committee up and down the lineup. It starts with right fielder Mookie Betts, who made the jump to stardom in his second full season by hitting .318 with 31 homers and 113 RBIs. Hanley Ramirez stayed healthy in his second season in Boston and contributed 30 dingers and 111 RBIs, while Jackie Bradley Jr. (26 HRs, 87 RBIs), Xander Bogaerts (21 HRs, 89 RBIs) and Travis Shaw (16 HRs, 71 RBIs) provide plenty of pop for an offense.

But the X-factor may be Pablo Sandoval, who played just three games in 2016 before having season-ending shoulder surgery in May. He’s slimmed down in the offseason and finally appears poised to regain the form that helped the San Francisco Giants win two World Series titles while he was in the Bay area.

While the 2016 AL champion Cleveland Indians are listed second at +850, I like the Houston Astros more, especially at +1,400 as a team that could upend Boston. Like the Red Sox, the Astros are in a win-now mode, but did most of their reconfiguring on the offensive side. General manager Jeff Luhnow beat the Red Sox to the punch in landing Carlos Beltran, who is still recalled fondly in Houston for helping the Astros reach the 2004 NL Championship Series.

This time, the 39-year-old Beltran will serve as a DH and steadying veteran presence to a lineup that has studs Jose Altuve (.338 average, 24 HRs, 96 RBIs, 30 SBs), third-year pro and 22-year-old Carlos Correa (20 HRs, 96 RBIs) and George Springer (29 HRs, 82 RBIs). Additionally, Luhnow further strengthened the spine of his team by acquiring catcher Brian McCann from the Yankees. The 32-year-old McCann had a dip in production to 20 homers last year, but the hope is he will find his 2015 form of 26 HRs and 94 RBIs.

But the Astros will only go as far as Dallas Kuechel rebounds from a dreadful 2016 in which he went 9-12 with a 4.55 ERA. The 2015 AL Cy Young winner might not need to win 20 games like he did that year, but if the Astros can win 84 games with him struggling like he did in 2016, they could win 90-plus behind Kuechel and fellow front-line starts Colin McHugh (13-10, 4.34 ERA) and Doug Sister (12-13, 4.64 ERA).

Best of the rest – NL edition

There are two viable alternatives to picking the Cubs — the Washington Nationals (+850) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (+1,400). Th problem is, both have holes that are too large to overcome to overtake Chicago. In the nation’s capital, the Nationals need Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Tanner Roark to be healthy for a full season, which is a huge challenge for Strasburg — who definitely has the talent after going 15-4 in just 24 starts last year. Roark must show he can build on his 16-win 2016 campaign and Scherzer just has to keep being Scherzer and chase his second straight 20-win season with Washington.

On offense, Bryce Harper (24 HRs, 86 RBIs, .243 average) had an off year compared to his monstrous 2015 of 42/99/.330, so finding a level between the two would be welcome. He’ll have protection in the lineup with Trea Turner, who hit .342 with 13 HRs and 40 RBIs in 73 games after being called up midseason, but it will be interesting to see if Danny Murphy can repeat his career year of 25 HRs, 104 RBIs and .342 batting average in his first season with Washington.

The Dodgers have become like the Yankees of yesteryear in the sense that there is no amount of money too large to throw around in a bid to win a World Series title. Last year’s NLCS runners-up still have Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA), but they also need him to start 33 games and not 21 like he did last year due to injuries. Los Angeles spent a combined $128 million to retain starter Rich Hill and closer Kenley Jansen (47 saves, 1.83 ERA) and return 16-game winner and NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48) as their No. 3 starter.

Maeda finished second in rookie voting to teammate Corey Seager, who had 26 HRs and 72 RBIs while batting .308. Justin Turner’s upward trajectory continued with 27 HRs and 90 RBIs, resulting in a 4-year, $64 million deal signed last month and Job Pederson provided another year of steady power with 25 homers and 68 RBIs.

In some respects, the Nationals and Dodgers are six of one and half-dozen of the other. They are the clear-cut favorites to win their respective divisions, but they’re also clearly not on the level of the Cubs. But both are worth taking a flier on to be there in case the favorites stumble.

Odds to win the 2017 MLB World Series

(Updated January 2017)

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Chicago Cubs +400
Boston Red Sox +500
Cleveland Indians +800
Washington Nationals +850
Houston Astros +1400
Los Angeles Dodgers +1400
San Francisco Giants +1400
New York Mets +1800
New York Yankees +2500
Toronto Blue Jays +2500
Texas Rangers +2500
St. Louis Cardinals +2500
Seattle Mariners +2500
Detroit Tigers +2800
Baltimore Orioles +3300
Kansas City Royals +3300
Pittsburgh Pirates +4000
Chicago White Sox +6600
Miami Marlins +6600
Los Angeles Angels +7500
Colorado Rockies +7500
Tampa Bay Rays +7500
Atlanta Braves +7500
Arizona Diamondbacks +10000
Milwaukee Brewers +10000
Oakland Athletics +10000
Cincinnati Reds +10000
Minnesota Twins +10000
Philadelphia Phillies +10000
San Diego Padres +10000

Chris AltrudaThis article was written by Chris Altruda

Chris Altruda has spent more than two decades as a sportswriter, first for ESPN SportsTicker in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he rose to the level of college sports coordinator and was NCAA Men's Basketball Columnist. From there, he moved onto The Associated Press, where Chris started as an editorial assistant in their MegaSports division in the AP's headquarters in New York City before taking on the role of Scores Manager. He most recently served as an editor for nearly 11 years for STATS' editorial department based in Northbrook, Illinois, writing game previews for all US professional and major college sports as well as the English Premier League and international soccer. Currently a freelancer, Chris is still working the international soccer beat and other assorted projects. A native New Yorker and graduate of Marquette University who still refers to them as the Warriors, Chris is now holding out hope the Jets will reach a Super Bowl in his lifetime since the Cubs proved miracles are possible by winning the 2016 World Series. Chris can be found on Twitter at @AlTruda73

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